Thursday, July 14, 2011
I enjoy deciphering the pencilled notes and smiled at the "terrible punctuation" comment signed by one unimpressed Jim Scott at the end of Hughes' 'November' poem!
The selection of poems were picked by Gunn and Hughes themselves which makes their choices interesting. Hughes of course adds his characteristic 'The Thought-Fox', a poem I've never really cared for. Everyone knows the story behind it of course, and how important it was to Hughes' writing but is it really a great poem in itself? I can put with it for 'The Horses' though:
"Not a leaf, not a bird, -
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood
Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness"
In saying that, the first edition of this Selected was published in 1962 so I guess Hughes would have had a much smaller repertoire to pick from at that point.
Never read much of Gunn before but I was intrigued by the very first poem in this collection, 'The Wound':
"The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak;
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient skill."